The digital sphere, especially social media, is perceived as a new form of public sphere where individuals can share and circulate information and participate in formal and informal democratic processes albeit in the context of echo chambers and confirmation biases. Gender in the Digital Sphere explores how we represent, express, and engage with the digital world via the lens of gender. Each chapter touches on one of the three pillars of engagement, expression, or representation in relation to the digital world, and themes range from social media, body image and identity to feminist activism to gender and digital narratives. The contributors raise important questions about the impact of digital media in everyday life and make connections between theory and everyday accounts of gender and technology.
Barbara Mitra is principal lecturer at the University of Worcester. Her research focuses on gender, social media, eating disorders, and autism.
Sharon Young is senior lecturer at the University of Worcester. Her research focuses on women’s writing of the early modern period and its role in their participation in the public sphere.
Mehreen Mirza is head of school of Law and Social Sciences at Oxford Brookes University. Her research focuses on gender, ethnicity, and inequalities.
List of Tables and Appendices
Introduction: Representation, Engagement and Expression, Sharon Young
Chapter 1: The relationship between social media, body image and gender drawing on interviews with teenagers, Barbara Mitra
Chapter 2: Girls will be Boys and Boys will be Girls: It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, Mark Vicars and Janine Arantes
Chapter 3: “Well yes Sir, I’m Fat, and Yes, Sometimes I’m a Bitch”: Empowering Representations of Fat Identity in Plus-Size Women’s Fashion Blogs, Hanna Limatius
Chapter 4: Empowering or silencing: The #MeToo campaign in retrospect, Jemma McCarron and Barbara Mitra
Chapter 5: To Scroll, Share and Sign: Young Adults and Digital Feminist Activism, Rebecca Feasey
Chapter 6: The Social Media of Loose Women: Taking the Temperature of Popular Feminism, Ruth Garland
Chapter 7: Hoping Women: A Case Study on Aspirant Bloggers in Turkey, Melike Asli Sim
Chapter 8: “We need men to be Men”: Constructions of Hegemonic Masculinity in Online Responses to the 2019 We Believe Gilette Advertisement, Federica Formato and Amanda Iveson
Chapter 9: Gender and New Words in an Online World, Jenny Lewin-Jones
Conclusion: Reflection, Mehreen Mirza and Barbara Mitra
About the Contributors
The essays in this timely collection complicate ready assumptions about digital realms as the new public sphere, illustrating how its identities and practices do not merely represent the translocation of material gendered cultures to virtual spaces but are the nurseries of new forms of participation, remediation and resistance.
In an era defined by digital advancements and inequalities, Gender in the Digital Sphere offers a thought-provoking exploration of how social media is understood, experienced and deployed in the work of gendered identity construction. Featuring chapters on #MeToo, fashion-blogging, hope labour and body-image, this collection is a must-read for academics and students alike.